|Publication number||US6889416 B2|
|Application number||US 10/754,386|
|Publication date||May 10, 2005|
|Filing date||Jan 9, 2004|
|Priority date||Feb 12, 2001|
|Also published as||CA2368349A1, CA2368349C, DE60205958D1, DE60205958T2, EP1231351A2, EP1231351A3, EP1231351B1, US6687982, US6745460, US6912767, US20020138964, US20020157769, US20040083662, US20040117967, US20040139592|
|Publication number||10754386, 754386, US 6889416 B2, US 6889416B2, US-B2-6889416, US6889416 B2, US6889416B2|
|Inventors||Timothy Bryan McGlinchy|
|Original Assignee||Glass Equipment Development, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (15), Referenced by (36), Classifications (30), Legal Events (11)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a Divisional application of application Ser. No. 10/133,718, filed on Apr. 26, 2002 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,745,460 which is a continuation in part of application Ser. No. 09/781,630, entitled “Laminated Muntin Bar Method and Apparatus” to McGlinchy and which was filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Feb. 12, 2001 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,687,982.
The present invention concerns muntin bars used for separating window panes of large size into smaller size panes to enhance the appearance of a window.
Windows constructed from multiple glass panes utilized “muntins” or “muntin bars” to secure the edges of the individual glass panes within the window sash. In many windows, muntins formed distinctive grid patterns that are associated with architectural styles of buildings containing the windows.
Modern windows formed by insulating glass units utilize single glass fights separated by an insulating dead air space. Where a particular architectural “look” is desired, a grid of muntin bars is fixed in the dead air space between the glass lights to simulate a multi-pane window. Typical muntin bars for insulating glass units are formed from decoratively coated intermitted metal tubes. The grids are anchored to the insulating glass unit periphery.
Constructing muntin bar grids for insulating glass units has been a labor intensive process. As a consequence, manufacturing such units, and thus windows formed by the units, has been costly and inefficient. Some efforts to automate the manufacture of muntin grids have been made. Commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 6,173,484 entitled “System for Fabricating Muntin Bars from Sheet Material” which issued Jan. 16, 2001 to McGlinchy et al. is an example of a system for automated fabrication of muntin bars. The subject matter of the '484 patent is incorporated herein by reference. Commonly owned pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/525,349 entitled “System for Fabricating Contour Muntin Bars from Sheet Material” is a second patent application to McGlinchy et al concerning automated fabrication of so-called contour muntin bars and the subject matter of this application is incorporated herein by reference.
The muntin bar stock is produced by roll forming decoratively coated sheet material such as aluminum or steel, in a known manner. Various sizes of the sheet material are used to form different size muntin bar stock. The roll forming machine has a series of rolls configured to form the sheet material into elongated tubular muntin bar stock. A window manufacturer purchases the muntin bar stock size(s) needed to produce insulating glass units. Apparatus disclosed in the aforementioned patent application also cuts the stock into lengths that are notched in appropriate locations for assembly into grids for incorporation into the insulating glass units.
The residential window and door industry has witnessed an increase in demand for decorative muntin bars contained inside insulated glass (IG) units of windows. The demand for muntin bars has increased due to popular “colonial look” trends in the market which has increased the demand for muntin bars. Also contributing to the demand are new construction and residential building codes requiring a common facade in local neighborhoods. With people also desiring differentiation and designer choices in their windows, a demand for so-called “two tone” muntin bars is also on the rise. The two tone muntin bar presents one appearance from the outside and a second appearance from-inside the window.
Two-tone muntin bars are offered today in many color combinations for both rectangular and contour style muntin bars. A two-tone muntin bar demands a premium price in the market place. One reason for the increased price of two tone muntin bars is the fact that automated manufacturing of two tone muntin bars using controlled notching, roll forming and severing has not occurred.
The most common method practiced at the present time for manufacturing two tone muntin grids starts with a long roll formed bar that is often shipped to a secondary supplier that paints or laminates the bar with a solid color tone or pattern on one side and a second color or pattern on the opposite side. Use of multiple steps performed by multiple suppliers results in significant additional cost to the final assembled product. More elaborate bars have simulated wood grains that are used to match up with the wood trim in or surrounding the window sash. All of the current methods require cutting specified length segments from a two tone bar. The bar is then mitred and/or punched to complete fabrication of the muntin bar. The current methods require post painting and/or lamination which are time consuming, costly and provide limited throughput. This requirement also leads to a build up of inventory to give the suppliers adequate lead time for performing these post roll forming procedures.
The present invention concerns an automated method and apparatus for producing laminated muntin bars. Sheet material is roll formed into either rectangular or contour muntin bars and then covered with laminating material. In accordance with one exemplary process muntin bars are provided that have one appearance when viewed from outside the window and a second appearance when viewed from inside the window.
A process for making muntin bars in accordance with the invention includes providing an elongated preformed muntin bar member that has been treated on a portion of an exposed surface of the muntin bar member. An elongated strip of covering material is provided for controlled application onto a specified portion of the treated portion of the muntin bar material. The elongated strip of covering material includes an adhesive for adhering the covering material to the muntin bar member. The muntin bar member and the covering material are brought into contact with each other while applying heat and pressure to cause the covering material to overlie and adhere to the muntin bar member.
When making two tone muntin bars, one exemplary embodiment of the invention starts with an elongated strip of muntin bar material that has been painted on at least one side. The strip is roll formed to form an elongated generally hollow bar. The painted surface of the elongated bar is then covered with a covering material that is brought into contact with the painted surface to alter an appearance of the muntin bar material. More specifically, the covering material covers one half of an exterior, painted surface of the muntin bar material to form a two tone muntin bar member.
Practice of the invention allows the laminated muntin bars to be produced on an as needed basis. A coil of strip that has been painted and treated with a second color on one half of its surface is then stored in inventory. This inventory is bent by rollforming equipment and then coated with a covering material on an as needed basis. This is to contrasted with a prior art process of fabricating muntin bars which must be shipped to a supplier and secondly shipped back to the window fabricator for inclusion in an IGU. There is a cost savings as well as a savings in time especially where the inventory is maintained at the same location that the muntin bar fabrication occurs.
The disclosed embodiment of the invention uses a flexible elongated multilayer strip or foil of covering material that is applied to a painted surface of preformed muntin bar material. One layer of the flexible elongated multilayer strip or foil has an appearance which is visible on a muntin bar fabricated from the mutlilayer strip. A second, adhesive layer causes the first, appearance defining layer to adhere to a preformed muntin bar memeber. The foil also includes a carrier layer for supporting the first layer as the multilayer strip or foil is brought into contact with the preformed muntin bar member.
These and other objects, advantages and features of the, invention will become better understood from a review of the exemplary embodiment of the invention which is described in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
A muntin bar grid indicated at G is disposed between the glass lights to provide the unit 10 with the appearance of a multi-pane window. As seen in
According to the fabrication process disclosed in the McGlinchy et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 6,173,484), the ribbon stock S is fed from a supply lengthwise through a muntin bar production line including a series of forming stations and is formed into a muntin bar M having a notch 22 for interfitting with the notch of another muntin bar as is depicted in FIG. 2. The stock material S (
As can be seen in
In the exemplary embodiment of the invention, the muntin bar members 112 are treated by painting an entire outer surface 24 of the muntin bar strip S (
The strip 116 includes a coating or covering material 150 that is applied onto a desired portion of the painted strip surface, i.e., one of the outwardly facing surfaces 24 a or 24 b of the painted outer surface of a cut to length muntin bar member 112. Application of the covering material 150 onto a desired portion of the painted muntin bar member 112 is accomplished using controlled application of heat and pressure by the roller 123 against the muntin bar member 112 and the strip 116. The heat and pressure applied by the roller causes the covering material 150 to separate from the elongated strip 116 and adhere to the muntin bar member's painted outer surface.
In one exemplary embodiment, the covering material 150 is comprised of three layers: a decorative color or printed layer 216, a protective layer 214 and an adhesive layer 218. The protective layer 214 is optional, but depending on its composition, can protect the decorative color layer 216 from scratching, chemical attack and UV (ultra violet) fading.
The decorative color layer 216 may be a desired paint color or a printed image, e.g., a wood grain finish appearance. The decorative color layer 216 is typically an ink lacquer which dries very rapidly by release of solvent. After application of the covering material 150 to the painted muntin bar member's outer surface (24 a or 24 b), the protective layer 214 functions as an outer protective surface for the decorative color layer 216 to protect the color layer 216 from scratching, resists chemicals and reflects UV radiation.
The third component of the covering material 150 of the strip 116 is the adhesive layer 218. The adhesive layer 218 comprises an adhesive that is formulated for compatibility with the paint applied to the muntin bar member's outer surface as well as the decorative color layer 214. The adhesive layer 218 is typically comprised of a combination of resins (lacquers) that cure from applied heat and chemically cross link the decorative color layer 216 to the paint applied to the muntin bar member's outer surface 24.
Roll forming of the muntin bar member 112 prior to coating provides either a rectangular cross section shaped muntin bars M as disclosed in FIG. 2 and shown schematically in
Referring again to
The covering material 150 of the strip 116 is transferred onto the painted surface of the muntin bar 112 using heat and pressure. During the lamination process, the release layer 212 is melted and the carrier layer 210 separates from the covering material layer 150 that adheres to the muntin bar. This leaves the layers 214, 216, 218 that make up the covering layer 150 on a top one half portion of the outside surface of the muntin bar member 112.
The recoiler 130 and the conveyor 118 are driven by respective motors 152, 154 having output shafts coupled to the recoiler and the conveyor whose speed of rotation is coordinated by the controller 160 which in an exemplary embodiment of the invention is a programmable controller executing a stored program. The controller 160 co-ordinates the speed of rotation of the two motors 152, 154 to a desired speed setpoint. Two idle rollers 162, 163 are mounted above the muntin bar members 112 so that they contact a top surface of the muntin bar members and help hold the bar members in position as the conveyor moves the muntin bar members along a path of travel through the region where they are contacted by the heated pressure roll 123.
Side to side alignment or registration of the muntin bar member 112 is maintained by the entrance guide rollers 120, 122 and pairs of exit guide rollers 166, 168 that engage the side of the muntin bar member 112 downstream from the pressure roll 123. The guide rollers 120, 122, 166, 168 rotate about generally vertical axes and maintain the muntin bar member in side to side alignment in the region 117 the strip 116 comes into contact with the bar 112 and is heat and pressure treated by the pressure roll 123. These guide rollers are idle rollers and rotate as the muntin bar members 112 are conveyed along a travel path by the conveyor 118.
The strip 116 is unwound from its supply 114 and reeved around a guide roller 170. The strip 116 then contacts the bar member 112 at the region 117 of the pressure roll. The muntin bar member 112 and pressure roll 123 define a nip which exerts a pressure against the strip 116. Proper application of heat and pressure causes the carrier layer and the covering material to separate from each other. On the exit side of the pressure roll 123 the carrier layer 210 passes under two guide wheels 172, 174 and is then wound onto the recoiler 130.
The pressure roll 123 is a heat controlled iron impregnated silicone roller. Before reaching the roller 123, the muntin bar member 112 passes through a controlled preheat chamber 173 to preheat the muntin bar member 112. Preheating the muntin bar member 112 facilities proper adhesion of the adhesive layer 150 to the painted top surface of the muntin bar member to produce high quality lamination at high speeds (greater than 10 feet per minute). The heating cross links bonding between the decorative paint layer 154 and the painted strip surface 24.
Experience with the lamination process has identified ranges of operating parameters for use in practicing the invention. It has been found that the preheat chamber 172 should raise the temperature of the muntin bar member 112 to approximately 200 degrees F. at an exit from the chamber 172. Performance has been seen to be adequate when the temperature is within a range of 190 degrees to 210 degrees. At the contact region 117 the temperature of the pressure roll 123 has been adequate when maintained at about 400 degrees F. Throughputs of between ten and fifty feet per minute have been achieved through practice of the invention and even higher throughputs may be achievable.
In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the invention the strip 116 has a width that completely covers a top surface of the muntin bar member 112 and hangs over the side on each of the two sides of the member 112 a distance to cover one half of each side wall of the muntin bar member. Turning to
The exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described as treating rectangular muntin bars. In this exemplary embodiment, the notches 22 needed to fabricate a grid of intersecting muntin bars are formed (using prior art notch forming equipment) after the grids are laminated with the covering layer. It is believed that pre-notching of the muntin bar members using the equipment disclosed in the '484 patent to McGlinchy et al is would also work. At the notched region of the muntin bar, the covering layer 150 does not separate from the carrier layer 210 because pressure is not applied to the release layer 212 in the notch region of the muntin bar. The release layer holds the backing layer 210 to the covering layer 150 in the notched region. The covering layer in the notched region separates from the portion of the covering layer that adheres to the muntin bar.
Certain applications require both sides of a muntin bar grid to have the same appearance but an appearance not obtained by merely painting the strip from which the muntin bars are constructed. For such applications, it is possible that the system 110 shown in
While the present invention has been described with a degree of particularity, it is the intent that the invention include all modifications and alterations from the disclosed design falling within the spirit or scope of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||29/469.5, 29/469|
|International Classification||B32B37/08, B44C1/10, E06B3/673, E06B3/66|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T156/1028, Y10T156/1034, E06B3/67321, Y10T29/49623, B44C1/105, Y10T29/49885, B32B37/025, B32B2311/00, B32B37/08, Y10T29/49826, Y10T156/1712, Y10T29/49904, Y10T29/53048, Y10T29/53039, B32B2451/00, Y10T29/534, Y10T29/49906, Y10T29/49829, Y10T29/53313, E06B3/6604, B32B38/1841|
|European Classification||B44C1/10B, B32B38/18B2B, E06B3/66A|
|Feb 10, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GED INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS, INC., OHIO
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